(Author’s Note: Hey folks! Hope you’ve been paying attention and watching things. Even in the weirdness of school, I have had time to write. You all should be able to read my latest piece, Her Last Performance. The music will really make that one pop. Otherwise, here’s this week’s Fictioneers offering! Enjoy!)
Author’s Note: Welcome again. Things were busy this week, and I’ve been confined to my bed due to a nasty head cold that my unforgiving students gave to me. So, nothing new came out since last week. Hopefully, things will change this week.
An old radio in the background of the bedroom was playing a quaint little song as Silvia Montgomery sat in front of her mirror. The head of the old money Montgomery family, she was an elegant lady who dealt with things bluntly. Sometimes too much so, such as the case of firing the head of the Montgomery Foundation in front of a televised audience.
She pulled a brush through her silky shoulder-length silver hair, as she counted the number of wrinkles on her face. She was pushing 55, and the stress of being the heiress of one of the biggest charitable foundations in the Western Hemisphere didn’t help much. The mirror betrayed this fact like a tattling child.
She put on her favorite earrings, the ones that got her notice with people. She looking in the mirror and smiled. It was a fake smile, to be sure, but she needed to keep up the appearance that she was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Wearing a long and black dress that hid the cellulite and the age in her previously envy-provoking legs, she took one last look before standing and pulling on her black arm-length gloves.
Grabbing her purse from the edge of the dresser, she slowly walked out of her room and down the ornate stairs of her palatial estate in rural Rockland County. She reached the bottom of the stairs, and looked around for her husband, real estate mogul Howard O’Connor. As she turned to look towards his study, where he spent most of his days instead of with her, she saw him walk out with a bored look on his face.
“How much longer are we going to have to keep this up, Silvia?” Howard asked her, “I really believe I need to get moving on with life.”
“The papers are being drawn up as we speak, they should be ready within the month,” she replied, looking straight forward with an Anjelica Huston-like smirk on her face.
The same song that was playing in her bedroom also played on the radio in the hallway downstairs. A song that neither of them cared for, but was quite appropriate for their current situation.
They looked at each other one more time, and they both walked out to the limousine that was waiting to take them into New York City. A charity affair featuring many of New York’s most wealthy was occurring, and it was one of the last places that Howard and Silvia needed to go to.
The drive down from the outskirts of New City into the bowels of the West Side was boring at best and tense at the worst. Howard sat with his hands on his Blackberry, sending off notes about new real estate holdings in Buffalo and Detroit that could net him some cash. Silvia looked out the windows, with a bored look on her face. She loved looking up at the buildings and the neighborhoods that were her home for such a long time in the past. The same drive, with no passion or love in her life, it showed a side of her that she didn’t really like.
The limousine pulled up in front of the center where the charity auction and ball were to be held. Howard and Silvia looked at each other, sighing at the difficulty of the display they would have to show. They then both smiled at each other, trying to put forth their best loving face, and proceeded out of the limousine. With the cameras flashing and the smiles going around, the couple walked up the stairs of the Benoit Center for the Performing Arts, and proceeded to meet with major donors and public officials.
After a while of putting on the airs, as everyone started to settle down, the couple separated themselves and proceeded to do what they usually did at events like this: Howard would work his way to the bar, find a couple of real estate minnows, and try to pry information from them by plying them with liquor, while Silvia would go around to the different tables and chat for a minute with people and get the information that would be useful to her bids down the line.
She would reach the table where she was supposed to be seated for the dinner, and put down her purse. She sat down, and sighed at the amount of effort that she had to put forth.
“It’s hard having to talk to people when some of them don’t even care for you,” she said aloud to herself, reaching for the bottle of champagne in the middle of the table and pouring herself a flute.
“I don’t usually care for most of them, myself. But, that goes with my territory.”
She whirled her head around and stared into the eyes of someone who she never usually saw at these charity functions. Someone who bore a stony frame, but had a simple and refreshing look in his eyes.
“I wonder how I got the same table as the New York City Police Commissioner. I never usually get law enforcement where I sit,” she said, with a little shock in her voice.
“I think the organizer put the folks who weren’t as happy to be here with each other. How are you doing, Silvia?” the commissioner said, looking at her from through spectacles he never really wanted to wear.
“Judging by what has been said so far, I think you’ve read me pretty well.”
“I’m trying to make my show of support here, at the behest of the mayor, then I am going to get out of here.”
“I wish I could join you.”
“You should wait until your divorce from Howard is final.”
She looked at him, with wide eyes.
“How did you…”
“…you know how I know.”
Silvia blinked for a second, then she shook her head with a slight smile.
“Your daughter. The ADA. She’s connected with the major attorneys.”
She smiled for the first time, genuinely, as she looked at the commish.
“I now realize why you’re so good at your job.”
“Really? Maybe you could tell me, because I still am wondering how I was convinced to take this job.”
Just as she was about to answer, a broad-shouldered man walked up to the table, and smiled.
“Ah, seems like you two are having a conversation. I’ll leave you.”
“No need, Barrett. Are we free to go?”
“Your obligation has been met.”
He stood up and gave her a mustachioed smile.
“You know where to find me when things are done.”
The commissioner walked away, as Silvia looked on in wide-eyed wonder.
“This shall be interesting indeed…” she said to herself, a sly look in her eyes. She downed the rest of the flute of champagne and poured another glass, thinking of the steely police commissioner of the Five Boroughs.
Hirsan was getting bored with the party being held in his honor. The bespectacled 24-year old grad student had just finished a major exam in his Geography 507 course, dealing with the political intrigue relating to assassinations and their relative location to national capitals. He received a text message to come and visit his father at the estates in mountains in Orange County.
He didn’t realize it was going to be a 24th birthday party.
Sure, he was the son of royalty. The heir to the new throne of Syria, once the old dictator Assad was brought down to his knees and the insurgent Iranians sent back to their native land. However, today, he thought of himself as simply a college student and a deeply humiliated individual.
Hirsan liked to live frugally, to learn how to survive on his own and work with the other people. He wasn’t religious, and preferred to be focused on love and life, rather than political intrigue and negotiations. However, this surprise party was his father’s idea.
“When King Rahsan gets an idea, you know there will be lots of money and pomp behind it,” he said, dejectedly.
He scanned the floor of the main ballroom from his perch on the second floor. The main ballroom was gigantic. With marble flooring and bright orangish colors up the sides, it was surrounded on a second floor by four large open corridors with seating along both sides of it’s wide hallways. He sat next to the edge overlooking the ballroom, looking at the main ballroom doors to the north. A string ensemble was on one side of the ballroom, while a disc jockey was on the other side. While the adults played, the string ensemble were in play. After the adults would retire, the youth would have the disc jockey for the rest of the night. The DJ was a good friend of Hirsan’s, brought down from San Francisco for the occasion. He had a list of certain songs that Hirsan would be using on most nights.
He was just about to get up and walk towards the kitchen in frustration when he saw a face appear through the main ballroom doors. His heart froze, and he stood, transfixed. He knew this person who walked through the doors, and he did not know what to do.
She wore a beautiful peach-colored satin dress. It was definitely flirty, but it wasn’t over-doing it. It stated confidence, like it knew what it wanted and that others should stay away. Her skin was light, but had a tinge of color to it. Likely unnoticable to most people, for Hirsan, it was a perfect color that showed the beauty of East Asia. Her almond eyes lit up with kindness as she was greeted, and her light-red lips gently displayed laughter.
Hirsan immediately bolted to the stairs closest to the string ensemble. He ran over to the main conductor and tapped him on the shoulder. After talking in an animated way to him for close to a minute, the conductor gave him the nod, and he continued to quickly rush over towards the DJ. He gave him the number 51, and told him to wait for his cue. The DJ just let out a hearty chuckle and slapped him on the back. Hirsan then proceeded to walk slowly in the direction of the young lady.
He came to within two feet of her, and she turned to look at him.
“Hirsan?!” she said, gasping a slight bit, “You’re the birthday boy?”
“It is, Keiko! How did you end up coming over here?”
“It was your dad. He said that you mentioned me a couple times, and he thought it would be nice for me to come celebrate your birthday.”
Hirsan smirked, while looking down and shaking his head.
Dad, there some some days when I have to wonder just what’s going on in that head of yours.
He looked back at her and smiled.
“You look absolutely gorgeous this evening. It’s a change from seeing you in normal clothes in Heitler 150.”
Keiko looked back at him, and gave him a sly nudge.
“Are you trying to say I don’t look sexy?”
Hirsan immediately tried to explain, tying up his tongue and eliciting a guffaw from an old colonel who was standing next to him.
“Don’t dig yerself a hole there, Hirsan. You may just fall in.”
Hirsan quickly facepalmed, took a breath, and sighed.
“You look great in anything you wear. I just never have seen you in as elegant or, shall we say, shiny of attire.”
Keiko blushed slightly.
Hirsan knew his next move, one that he hoped he would be able to pull off. He proceeded to gently pick up her hand, placing it in his.
“Keiko, would you care for a dance to one of my favorite songs?”
Keiko responded with boldness.
“Of course I would, Hirsan. You might be surprised by what you ask.”
Hirsan proceeded to take her hand and move her around a couple directions. He gave the signal to the composer to stop, and the “5-1” with his open hand to the DJ. Both did as they were supposed to do while Hirsan brought Keiko to the middle of the ballroom. Other people started to move out of the way, as the couple finally arrived. At the precise moment they arrived, his song started up.
For the first 30 seconds or so, he slowly moved with her around in the middle of the crowd, which had opened up into a circle. For the near 3 and a half minutes, Hirsan moved across the floor with Keiko. He utilized partner dance skills that he had been taught long ago as a child, and applied old-style charm in a bid to make those four minutes the greatest of Keiko’s life.
He twirled her around in the choruses, and did tango/mamba mixes during other parts. She just grinned and laughed as they went through the song. He found himself at the end of the song looking into her eyes and saying words that he never thought he would have uttered in his life.